Thursday, January 22, 2015

Watching January



 



Its the heart of January.
 Bleak skies, rainy nights, and the desperate, glassy-eyed, sun-deprived stares on people's faces.    The leaves on the trees have fallen, their bare branches revealing the dirty, scarred, brokenness of the winter landscape.  Patches of garbage strewn along highway medians, muddy dirt roads, streaks of dulled, chipped paint on the sides of dilapidated trailers.
  Its a reminder of the imperfections of this space..  there is an absence of glamor and inspiration.

I'm driving county roads this morning..  watching all of this scroll by..   the bleakness and the gray; the dead grass in the fields... the weather-worn roofs of old barns.  
    I slow down for a random, mud-covered horse, standing on the side of the road..
she just stares ahead blankly as I cruise by. 

 Normally, my first response is... escape. 
I think for a moment that I rather be somewhere else... somewhere warm,  somewhere with sunshine, somewhere.. where its easy to sink into a state of habitual happiness.

But as I keep driving..  I begin to see things differently.

 I realized that.. today...  I didn't feel happy...  and not only that..   I didn't want to.....
 I didn't need to.     
And that absence of desiring to escape the moment...  felt genuinely, vulnerably, deeply good.
As I drove..  watching the bleakness of January..
 I kind of fell in love with it in a way..
It was like watching part myself drift by outside my truck window.
The deserted places, the rusty, dirty, imperfection..  the sadness..
It was unassuming... honest..  simply existing and enduring the coldness of winter.. 
just like me. 
And somewhere inside of me was glad for that reflection.   

 I never made an agreement with myself, or anyone, to be "happy constantly"..
 but sometimes I feel as though I did. 
  There is this cultural pressure to achieve happiness at all costs..  and I think it undermines my ability to simply embrace life at times.  

I am presently human..  and the truth of it is that I am gifted with the ability to FEEL many emotions..  to experience the pleasure and bliss of life... but just as much, the gray and the tragedy.   

I don't need to escape January. 
I don't need a "paradise" to take the place of an Alabama back road.  
 I don't have to manufacture or fashion happiness out of scraps of distraction.

I can watch it..  and accept it..   and in doing that, also accept myself


I think to truly move towards goodness, muchness, greatness..   we should make moments to become comfortable with the weakest, most unimpressive sides of ourselves.. 
so that we remember that all of this is ours. too. 





 
 
 
 
Andrew Tipton
 
 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Everything Is Yours

Sitting on the tailgate of the pickup truck,  I am munching down salsa-verde covered carnitas, grilled chicken, and large slices of mango..   my lips are burning and my eyes keep tearing up.   Its a delicious authentic Mexican lunch..   and despite the salsa melting my face, I am enjoying every savory bite.         
Somewhere between devouring homemade tacos, and squinting to keep the Saturday-afternoon sunshine out of my eyes..   I am having a conversation on "Why I'm not married.. and why no children?"  

I'm sitting next to several Mexican friends of mine..  and I'm trying in vain to describe my beliefs about relationships.   I can see from their confused eyes, that my words are not entirely making sense.   I blame half of the confusion on my imperfect Spanish..  and the other half on my beliefs themselves.   My view and pursuit of "women", is definitely far from conventional.    

"I don't understand", says one friend.    "Why can't you just settle down and have some kids?".   

 I laugh.. and look him in the eyes.. 
"Because that isn't the life I want right now".         
As I take another bite of a carnitas taco..   I grin with a mouthful.  

In the center of this conversation..   I recognize myself..   but from the other side.    I hear my own disbelief and my own impulse to "sway" nestled in the words of my friends. 
 From their perspective,  I must seem like a complete fool..    I mean,  who wouldn't want to settle down and have kids!!?     Isn't that the dream?   
To them... its seems like I am missing out on a very important part of family life..    but for me, its quite the opposite.  

And it hits me..     it is a dream..  but it isn't my dream.   

Ironically, 
I am usually the one attempting to sway people..    subversively, openly, quietly, ferociously..  its usually me.   I have my own belief about life; about truth, about the definition of virtue.. about who we should be becoming, and what we should pursing..   I have my answers for these things..   

Its a difficult decision to offer a person your approval...  to find meaning and dignity in their own design and perception of existence -  no matter how controversial you might find it.  
Often, I find myself wanting something from a person..   trying them to get to a place in the their mind,  where they see what I see.. or believe the same things about life that I do.    And if they don't..  my tendency is to devalue the meaning and beliefs that they have chosen for themselves.    

I realized that in my own mind...  sometimes, I am assuming people are "missing out"..       and sometimes, people assume that I am missing out.  
But the reality is,  no one is missing anything
 We are simply here.    Living by the terms that we have agreed to ourselves.   

To offer that recognition to another person is a great gift.
To become an advocate..  of living a life..    no matter how it seems.. 
 
I learned that today.    On the tailgate... eating tacos. 




Andrew Tipton



Thursday, January 8, 2015

Swimmer


The ocean needs swimming
like
the night needs rest,
rock, paper, goodness,
every time,  takes the win,
because
the only reason for any of this
must be somewhere inside you
where
you found out
you believe
it. 
even in January,




Andrew Tipton


Saturday, January 3, 2015